Scancell – innovative ImmunoBody
Cancer remains one of the world’s most significant diseases. A key challenge in the fight against cancer is that many tumours continue to grow by successfully evading the body’s own natural defence mechanism – the immune system. Scancell’s mission is to overcome this breach in our defences by developing products that stimulate the immune system to treat or prevent cancer.
Scancell’s first cancer vaccine, SCIB1, is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and is in Phase I/II clinical trials. The initial results have been highly encouraging and suggest that SCIB1 could have an important future role as first line treatment for patients with resected Stage II or III disease, a key area of unmet medical need for which there are no effective and safe treatment options available. SCIB1 is a plasmid DNA which encodes a human antibody molecule engineered to express two cytotoxic T cell epitopes derived from the melanoma antigens Tyrosinase-Related Protein 2 (TRP2) and gp100 plus two helper T cell epitopes. Following immunisation, the engineered antibody is expressed and taken up by dendritic cells, resulting in the development of immune responses against tumour cells expressing the TRP2 and gp100 antigens. The major advantage of the Immunobody technology is that the Fc component of the engineered antibody will be recognised by the high affinity CD64 receptor present on dendritic cells, leading to a significant enhancement of both the frequency and avidity of the T cell immune response. The induction of high avidity T cells against TRP-2 and gp100 destroys both primary and metastatic tumours, leading to longer progression free survival.
Scancell, which was founded in 1997 as a spin-out from the University of Nottingham, has secured £17 million funding to date. In December 2006 Scancell sold its pipeline of direct killing monoclonal antibodies to Arana Therapeutics, an Australian biopharmaceutical company. The deal allowed Scancell to focus its efforts entirely on its innovative ImmunoBody and Moditope cancer vaccine programmes.
More about Scancell: www.scancell.co.uk